Hadnagy sees the contest as an experiment, of sorts, and plans to compile a report analyzing what happens. "We started it up to raise awareness for social engineering and give a venue to learn what makes a good social engineer," he said. "The easiest route into a company is still people."
Last month the FS-ISAC issued a warning about the contest, which Hadnagy posted to his blog. "Financial institutions should be aware of this upcoming contest, and should brief their personnel, especially call centers and legal departments regarding this event," the advisory states.
Around the same time, Hadnagy got a call from the FBI's Cyber Division. "They had questions on what our intent really was and what we were doing and what our goals were with the contest," he said. He forwarded the contest's rules to the FBI. "Once I passed that through to them… I think that stopped a lot of the government concern," he said.
Defcon's founder Jeff Moss said Thursday that he has fielded a few inquiries as well, including one from the FS-ISAC.
They needn't worry. Targets companies will come from the technology sector and other industries, but there won't be any financial, health care, educational or government organizations, Hadnagy said.